This is a really old review but we must have missed it first time around. Thanks for listening!
Improvised music is, by its very nature, a dangerous art form. There is the ever present threat of meandering off into self gratifying jamming, the potential lack of non-verbal communication between participants, and all sorts of other ego-trips that come into play whenever a group of artists get together to improvise. It’s really an amazing feat that any decent music can be created this way, but when it works it can be a magical experience for musicians and listeners alike. “Burn Kids” is the second release from the Australian collective, The Night of Love, and it displays many of the great and not-so-great features that can define this particular school of experimental music.
The disc starts off on the right foot with the opening track, “Anywhere but the Grave”. It plays to the bands strengths with a keen emphasis on barely audible sounds that actively focus the silence that surrounds them. The track instantly creates a space around itself which feels very closed in and full of a potential to explode at any moment. A dull engine drones in and out of focus as other textural sounds move closer and farther away from the listener, water gurgles in the background, and a massive ripping sound threatens to overtake everything. This piece, along with the second and third tracks displays a level of focus and intent that I find lacking from the second half of the disc.
There are still moments of brilliant, restrained clarity in the later tracks, but they are overshadowed by unfortunate elements like a chaotic percussive approach akin to knocking various objects off of shelves in a garage and atonal melodic explorations that feel uninspired. Add to these elements the general fatigue that sets in after listening to a half hour of free-form music, and I’m left feeling like this should have been an EP rather than a full length affair. This group’s strength is in their focused restraint and they shine brightest in their quietest moments. I’m curious to hear how they develop and further push themselves.
6/10 — Charles Franklin (19 May, 2009)